Posted on December 1, 2020
Sand, that reportedly contains rocks and even glass, heaped onto a Far South Coast beach during a dredging operation will be removed over safety concerns.
On Friday, a Transport for NSW spokesperson said work had started to relocate sand dredged from Bermagui waterways and placed on Horseshoe Bay Beach to an authorised Crown Lands’ site behind the slipway at Bermagui Harbour.
“The dredging was for the dual purpose of providing safe navigation along the river and to nourish nearby beaches to help prevent erosion,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier this year, a Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands spokesperson said the NSW government provided $1.2million to remove over 30,000 cubic metres of excess sand from Bermagui’s river and harbour.
When questioned over whether or not the recent sand relocation work was included in the original $1.2million or whether it cost extra, the Transport NSW spokesperson did not respond.
But director of lifesaving for the Far South Coast branch Cheryl McCarthy said the removal of the sand was a positive outcome as it had created safety issues on the beach and made lifesavers’ jobs more difficult.
“We are certainly supportive of having some sand to help deal with erosion on different parts of the beach,” she said.
“But there was an enormous amount of sand put on the beach.”
She said when it was high tide lifesavers on their observation deck were unable to see the whole beach where people may be as it would cut away their sight to the water’s edge.
The river sand was challenging to carry the rescue boat or ATV across – lifesavers had to go at a certain speed which was difficult when the beach was busy.
Also, they could not leave the rescue boat at the water’s edge at high tide which made their response times longer.
Ms McCarthy said the dredging work occurred over winter, which was not lifesaving season, and in September the safety aspects from a lifesaving perspective became immediate.
“We had communicated our concerns on the way,” she said.
She said some sand will remain on the beach for erosion control, although these remains would be sifted as rocks and even glass had been found in the dumped sand.
She said the removal was expected to finish by December 18, in time for the school holidays.
The Transport NSW spokesperson said the department was investigating ways of using the dredged sand.
“No further dredged material will be placed on Horseshoe Bay Beach,” they said.
Ms McCarthy said a very busy summer on the beaches was predicted and advised people to see which beaches had flags on them by visiting www.beachsafe.org.au.